Have you ever thought about giving ornamental grasses a place in your yard? They’re beautiful, attract bees, butterflies, and other insects, and will bloom year after year if you choose wisely. We often fill our beds with delicate flowers in spring – well, why wouldn’t you?
However, when the cool fall weather arrives, many of these blooms will fade away, along with many plants. On the other hand, ornamental grasses will maintain their vigor and color throughout the winter and keep your garden alive through the dullest months. They have so much to offer.
The world of ornamental grasses is growing fast, with many people now choosing to fill beds and containers with them, some with grasses alone and others alongside more well-known flowers.
Ornamental grasses are great for adding interest. They are a quick way to add an instant focal point, fill a bare patch, or add a splash of color to an otherwise bland area of your yard.
Before purchasing, it is essential to research ornamental grasses to make sure you’re choosing the right one for you. Some can grow large and spread quickly, whereas others may not be your intended statement.
But, if you’ve not considered this option before, here are 9 reasons why ornamental grass should have a place in your yard.
1. They Do Flower
Although they may not bud as your typical garden flowers do, ornamental grasses still produce blooms of their kind.
As a general rule, ornamental grasses flower in late summer into fall. The flowers will then begin to dry to reveal hundreds of tiny seeds.
There are two options with these seeds. The first is to leave them for the birds to enjoy as a food source or fall to the ground to self-seed the following year.
The second is to collect them up, store them for the winter, and pop them in your yard where you fancy. You can also keep the seeds for a year in a cool and dry place while you decide where to put them.
2. Low Maintenance
Once you have planted your ornamental grass, there isn’t much you need to do other than sit back and admire its beauty. They will need a trim during the winter, but the only other maintenance would be if you decide it has grown too big for its position.
Ornamental grasses are also robust and often survive in conditions most other plant species can’t. Many, such as Side Oats Grama, don’t mind poor soil, are resistant to diseases and pests, and are drought-resistant.
Two of the easiest are Maiden Grass, tall with soft, white tufts, and Liriope, with vibrant purple flowers. One of the main appeals of growing ornamental grass is that they quickly shoot up, even from seed, with the Giant Reed growing the fastest.
It’s an excellent time to remember that some of these grasses are invasive and will take over your garden given half a chance. Maiden grass and Giant Reed are two such examples, along with bamboo and Chinese Silver Grass.
3. They’re Great For Privacy
If your yard is close to another, or you fancy giving yourself more seclusion, ornamental grasses can create the perfect, natural divide.
Many decorative types of grass shoot up super tall and, with careful planting, create the wall-like structure that a fence would otherwise give. Varieties perfect for privacy include Zebra Grass, Bamboo, and Chinese Silver Grass.
4. They Create Texture
Ornamental grasses add so much to a garden. There are many to choose from and range dramatically in size, shade, and shape. The grass also has a wondrous way of moving with the wind, it captures your attention, and it can be hard to draw your eyes away.
Where you plan to place your plant depends on what you choose, so shop around and find the prize perfect for you.
5. They Add Colour
Ornamental grasses add color to gardens that nothing else can, not necessarily through flowers but in the leaves and stem.
Blue Oat Grass is a small, hardy grass perfect for front beds. It has a pale blue hue that is fantastic against the greens of other shrubs. Cornus Alba has the most striking, burnt orange appearance that’ll add variety and color throughout the darkest months, and Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, although delicate, will add a touch of red to your grass collection.
6. They’re Great For Wildlife
We often think that for wildlife to thrive, we need to plan lots of flowers, and although this is true to support the bee population, we also need to think about the thousands of other species living in our yard.
The great plumes of leaves that ornamental grasses produce provide the perfect shelter for insects and amphibians, such as frogs and newts.
They give privacy to those trying to hide away, and because they’re great for hiding insects, they’re also a great source of food for small mammals.
7. They Store Carbon
All plants are taking carbon dioxide from our atmosphere in varying quantities.
During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide in the air and water are converted into glucose, by the plant, and stored as starch. The plants then release precious oxygen into the atmosphere.
Ornamental grasses store plenty of carbon underground in their deep root system, making them beautiful and essential!
8. You Can Use Them As Mulch
Ornamental grass has more than just one use. Over winter is an excellent time to give your grass a good cut back, and rather than dumping it, utilize it.
You can use mulch around the base of plants for many reasons, including moisture retention, insulation, and weed suppression.
Make sure there are no seeds in your cutting, though, and shred them as much as you can before spreading them thinly around the base of your plants.
9. There Is A Huge Selection
The best thing about ornamental grasses is that there is one to suit every need, space, and color scheme. There are ornamental grasses for all terrains, climates, and soil types.
If you’re new to these garden additions, the best thing to do is to spend a little time researching or asking at your local garden center, who can point you in the right direction.